Translated by Masahisa Matsunuma
360-Degree View Under Wide Open Sky from Osaka Castle Keep!
Written by Atsuko Yagura
Osaka is such a jam packed city full of people, houses and buildings that some say Osaka's sky is cramped. So if you go up to a higher place, you feel so much freedom. When you look over the city, buildings look completely different from when you look up at them from the ground.
In the following, I will introduce you to the Osaka Castle Keep from where you can look over the afternoon view and greenery of the city.
What Is the Osaka Castle Keep?
The current castle keep was constructed in 1931 and refurbished between 1995 and 1997. It is 55 metres tall with 5 stories outside and 8 stories inside. The golden dolphins and other golden decoration which adorn the castle roof shine brightly in the sky.
On the 8th floor is an observation deck with 360-degree views of the city, but the deck is surrounded by a safety net which distracts and takes away clear views.
Well then, let me show you some buildings which are viewable from the Osaka Castle Keep.
Old City Museum
To the south spreads the Osaka Castle Honmaru Park.
The Western style building pictured at the front left used to be the City Museum until 2001. It was originally used by the army and called the House of Imperial Japan Army Fourth Division, but later became the office of the Osaka Police Department. The building is not currently used except for occasional film and TV drama shoots.
To the northeast is the Osaka Business Park, which is Osaka's primary skyscraper cluster. On the farthest left is the Crystal Tower which is an about 157-metre tall super skyscraper with 37 stories constructed in 1990.
With its glass curtain wall facades as crystalline as its name, the tower reflects beautifully the surrounding area. Especially on a sunny day, it looks so beautiful as if it were a part of the sky.
By the way, you can catch the entire view of the Osaka Castle Park from the upper floors of the Crystal Tower. Visit a cafe on the 21st floor and enjoy the view of an oasis in the business district.
Osaka Museum of History
Osaka was once the capital of Japan called Naniwa-no-miya(Naniwa Palace; 難波宮) around 645. To the southwest is the Osaka Museum of History which is built in the Naniwa Palace Site Park where the Naniwa Palace once stood. The museum is the farthest left in this picture and its building adjoins the NHK Osaka Broadcast Centre.
The above-mentioned City Museum relocated to this building and reopened as the Osaka Museum of History in 2001. It is about 135 metres tall with 13 stories.
HEP FIVE's Ferris Wheel in Skyscraper District near Osaka Station
It is a bit far so maybe difficult to see, but to the northwest is a skyscraper cluster. That is the area near Osaka Station. And you can see in the cluster the red Ferris wheel of HEP FIVE, a landmark located in the Osaka Umeda area.
HEP FIVE is a shopping complex with clothing and grocery stores, restaurants and amusement facilities and packed with young people.The red Ferris wheel is popular as a dating spot. Chill out in a fully air-conditioned pod and enjoy the wonderful view of the city. It is about 106 metres high.
ABENO HARUKAS is 300 metres tall with 60 stories, making it the tallest building and the 3rd tallest structure in Japan following the Tokyo Skytree (634 m) and the Tokyo Tower (333 m).
If you see a square shaped building somewhere between the south and southwest that is taller than any other building, that is ABENO HARUKAS! It fully opened on June 13, 2013 so it's not long since then, but is making a powerful presence on the Osaka skyline. There is an outdoor observation deck called "HARUKAS 300" on the 58th to 60th floor at 288 metres in height.
Try looking at the city from different places. Go up and look down over the city. You get a vastly different impression of Osaka depending on from where you look at it. How about finding your favourite place!
Osaka Castle Keep
Address: 1-1 Osaka-jo, Chuo-ku, Osaka 540-0002
Access: It takes a 15-20 walk from each of the following station;
-Morinomiya Station or Osaka-jo Koen Station on JR Kanjo Line.
-Exit 1-B of Tanimachi 4-Chome Station or Exit 3 Tenmanbashi Statoin on Osaka Metro Tanimachi Line
-Exit 9 of Tanimachi 4-Chome Station, Exit 1 or 3-B of Morinomiya Station on Osaka Metro Chuo Line
-Exit 3-B of Morinomiya Station or Exit 1 of Osaka Business Park Station on Osaka Metro Nagahoritsurumiryokuchi Line
Open: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entry at 16:30. Opening hours may be extended depending on the season.)
Closed from Dec 28 to Jan 1.
Admission Fee: Adult: 600 yen. Free to students under junior high school, senior Osaka residents over the age of 65 (requires an ID) and disability certificate holders.